The best cheap TV for gaming, now in 4K!
Sure, we’d all love to play our console games on a massive $4,000 OLED 4K TV, but for most of us, that’s just beyond our budget. In fact, many consumers balk at spending even $1,000 on a new TV. Even if you’re not that price-conscious, there are plenty of reasons to be in the market for a cheap TV. The best cheap TV overdelivers on resolution, features, and ports.
If you already have a high-end 4K TV in your shared living space, you can save on the best cheap TV for whatever its use. Maybe it’s a secondary TV for the kid’s room or den. Maybe it’s a stopgap until you move next year. Maybe you just don’t use a TV that often and can’t justify spending much money on it. Spending more money on a TV your whole family will use isn’t necessarily a bad idea—you often get better color reproduction, viewing angles, brightness, and contrast. But the best cheap TV will actually surprise you with its features. That’s why they’re the best.
Whatever the reason you have for wanting a cheap TV, we’re here to help you find one that will still deliver gaming greatness without breaking the bank.
These are the best cheap TVs for gaming right now:
Best Cheap 4K TV for Gaming – TCL 55R617
This is the priciest TV on this list, but those extra bucks make a big difference. The TCL 55R617 is the best low-cost TV around right now, period. Make sure to check out our TCL 55R617 review to really understand what makes this the best cheap TV out there. It’s Roku-enabled, which is basically standard for TCL sets right now. Unlike some of the other best cheap TVs, this one is 4K and HDR, making it an enormously good value. Throw in the fact it’s a 55-inch TV set, has a great picture, and costs much less than comparable 4K HDR sets, and the TCL 55R617 is the best cheap TV for gaming, without a doubt. You can get it it on Walmart with free 2-day shipping.
Best Cheap 1080p TV for Gaming – TCL 40S325
A quick glance at the list shows quite a few entries from TCL, but it’s because the company makes good TVs at even better prices. This 40-inch 1080p is no exception. If you don’t have a One X or PS4 Pro, you can do without the 4K HDR, and 40-inches is a great size for bedrooms, dormrooms, or anywhere else you want to stick one. It has the excellent Roku smart software built in, just like its bigger siblings. If you want cheap but don’t need 4K, this one is perfect.
Another Great Cheap 4K TV for Gaming – Toshiba 43LF621U19
This Toshiba set has a lot of features for not a lot of money. You can also find it on sale on Amazon frequently, making it an even cheaper option for your gaming needs. Built-in Fire TV is a nice feature, especially if you’re a Prime subscriber. But the real draw of the Toshiba is its 4K and HDR capabilities. If you have a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, this is a great choice for your 4K gaming needs on the cheap.
Best Cheap 55-inch TV for Gaming – TCL 55S405
As we mentioned in our best 4K TVs guide, this model has an absurdly low price for a giant 55-inch, 4K TV set. There’s one catch: its peak brightness isn’t really high enough to make HDR content really shine. So, while HDR is technically supported and will work with your HDR-enabled consoles, it won’t look all that much better than SDR.
But in every other way, this is an amazing deal. It’s the 2017 model, which helps explain its low price, but it’s still a great TV. Huge size, great picture quality, low input lag, and built-in Roku software. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on the TCL 55R617 up there, this is a great cheap TV for gaming with a few tradeoffs that warrant its lower price tag. You can also find it on Walmart.
Another Great Cheap 1080p TV for Gaming – LG 49LJ5100
The LG is a solid choice for gaming, thanks to a composite/component input for older consoles and 2 HDMI for your newer gear. It also has LG’s Color Master Engine, which makes for some great colors whether you’re watching movies or playing games.
Best Cheap 32-inch TV for Gaming – TCL 32S305
What’s that? You want something really cheap? Like… really cheap? You give up some size (it’s 32 inches), but that’s to be expected. Also expected: the limited 720p resolution. On TVs 32 inches and smaller, that’s pretty common. You can get 1080p in a 32-inch TV, but you have to pay almost twice as much as this TCL set. And unless you sit really close, you won’t notice the difference that much. Not on a screen this size.
Input lag is only so-so and image quality isn’t the greatest. After all, we’re talking about a TV that costs less than some video game collector’s editions. You’re just not going to find super-low input lag and pristine visuals in this price range. As ultra-low cost TVs go, TCL punches way above its weight here, but be aware of its drawbacks. You can also get it at Walmart with free 2-day shipping.
4K or not 4K?
It’s worth taking a moment to discuss whether or not you should buy a 4K TV. Even if you only have a console capable of 1080p gaming (a PS4 or Xbox One S), there are a couple benefits to buying a 4K TV. First, there’s High Dynamic Range (HDR), a feature found almost exclusively in 4K TVs. Increasingly, games are starting to support HDR on the PS4 and Xbox One S, and it can make a big difference in image quality. These games will look a lot better on a 4K TV with HDR support than on a 1080p TV without it.
Second, you’re running out of options anyway. If you’ve been shopping for a new TV anytime in the last year, you’ve probably noticed HD sets aren’t the dominant force in TVs they used to be. You’re hard pressed to find a new TV bigger than 49-inches in 1080p. Manufacturers, and consumers too, have already moved on. If you do a quick search of 55-inch TVs on Amazon, you’re going to find the results are overwhelmingly 4K. That almost sounds concerning, but the prices on 4K TVs have come down much more dramatically, and in a much shorter time, than similarly sized televisions during the HD era.
Bargain brands like Vizio and TCL have definitely helped push the price of 4K sets down across the board. It’s not hard to find a 55-inch 4K TV with tons of features for less than $400, which is pretty amazing if you look at the historical prices of televisions. As little as 20 years ago, 32-inch CRTs were out of reach of most people. Now a 32-inch TV seems almost quaint.
It’s almost surprising how quickly 4K is taking over. You’ve long been able to get 4K computer monitors, but with the new round of the best graphics cards for gaming, you can now actually take advantage of all those pixels. Gaming laptops, too, are starting to squeeze in those new GPUs, making 4K closer to the norm than the exception. So what’s next for display technology? Why, 8K of course.
If you are looking to spend a lot of money, check out our picks for the best 4K TVs for gaming.